Blog Category:

Attract Birds to Your Feeder with Mealworms

Mealworms in your bird feeder make a handy snack for wild birds who need plenty of fuel for flying, breeding and just staying warm. A bird can require up to a whopping 10,000 calories a day, according to the National Wildlife Federation. That’s equivalent to a human consuming 155,000 calories a day! Birds don’t have time for empty calories; they need foods with high nutritional content. Mealworms are a great supplemental food for birds because they pack a good amount of protein and fat, which are important parts of their diet. Adults also feed these high-quality foods to their growing babies. You may think that mealworms are a treat just for bluebirds, but many other birds like them, too. Birds that you might be able to attract to your feeder with mealworms include: American Robin Blackbirds Cardinals Chickadees Finches Grackles Nuthatches Orioles Sparrows Tufted titmouse Warblers Wrens Woodpeckers   Mealworms aren’t worms; they’re more like caterpillars. Caterpillars are the larvae of butterflies and mealworms are the larvae of a species of darkling beetle. There are two ways to get mealworms: live or dried. Live Mealworms Birds prefer live mealworms over dried mealworms. Live mealworms require some care, but it’s easy. For the mealworms’ home, get a plastic container about the size of a shoebox. Punch very small air holes in the lid. For food, add some wheat bran, small slices of potato and orange rind. Make sure there is plenty of room between your mealworms and lid to discourage escapes. …

Read More

Onions Can Be Started From Seed—in Winter!

Even if you have snow on the ground, you can do some gardening: Plant seeds inside for cool weather vegetables, such as onions. Working with cool weather vegetables such as onions not only gives you something to do during winter, it gives you a head start on spring planting. As the name implies, cool weather vegetables can withstand cool temperatures—much cooler than tender vegetables, such as tomatoes and peppers, can tolerate. That allows your onion seedlings to be planted outside when the air and soil temperatures are just 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Tender plants, such as tomatoes and peppers, can’t be planted outside until the air temperature is at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit, even at night. Learn how to plant seeds inside in our previous article here. KINDS OF ONIONS We carry two different varieties of onion this year. ‘Siskiyou Sweet’ onion is very mild and sweet. You can eat the green tops as if they were scallions. The ‘New York Early’ onion stores well. It’s sweet, but with more bite than ‘Siskiyou Sweet’. See all the seeds we offer here.   TRANSPLANTING OUTSIDE A week before you plan to transplant your seedlings outside, start to harden off your seedlings. Put them outside for a short period to get them used to brighter light and cooler temperatures than you have inside your house. Each day, place them outside for a longer period so that when you transplant them, they aren’t shocked. Make sure conditions are suitable before you transplant seedlings outside. In …

Read More

Maximize Your Output with ‘Hybrid Composting’

Most gardeners use one of two kinds of composting: cold composting or vermicomposting. But there’s no reason you can’t combine the two. What we call “hybrid composting” can increase the amount of compost you produce and speed up the process, too. Types of composting Vermicomposting uses worms to break down plant matter and food scraps quickly. You can get finished compost in just a few months.  Cold composting is usually done outside with a compost bin or compost pile. The system relies mainly on microorganisms to break down plant matter and food scraps. Cold composting can take six months to a year to produce usable compost.  In a hybrid composting system, you add worms to your cold composting bin. Advantages of using worms in compost bin More room to create compost. Vermicomposters are small, so you are limited in the amount of material you can compost. If you have large bags of autumn leaves that you want to compost, you’ll need to turn to cold composting in an outdoor bin. An outdoor compost bin will also provide more room for kitchen scraps such as carrot peels and coffee grounds. Note: Don’t use spinner composters with worms.  Speed up the process. Instead of relying on just microbes to break down the plant matter, the worms will be doing their part, too, by eating food scraps and yard waste. How to start hybrid composting Layer your materials in your compost bin. Put the freshest, least composted materials on the bottom. These materials …

Read More

How to Keep Fruit Flies Away from Your Composting

Fruit flies are annoying little bugs that like to invade the house. The Drosophila melanogaster is attracted to organic matter like fruits and vegetables. Fresh fruit on the counter or in a bowl can attract them. How do they get in the house? Are they preventable? Are there natural methods to get rid of them? For over 40 years, these questions have been bugging Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm customers. Fruit Flies in the House Sometimes a fertile fruit fly comes in through an open door or window. It’s more likely, however, that their eggs, pupae, or larvae have hitched a ride in your produce. Just beneath the surface of fruits and vegetables is where fruit flies like to lay their eggs. Once in your house, they typically stay near sources of food, though they also gather near sinks and other places, like your kitchen scrap bin and composting bin. Composting Whether it’s inside or outside, families who compost tend to collect their wasted organic materials in a bin or pail before moving them to their composting bin. Many families make use of vermicomposting, which means their bin contains worms that break down leftover food scraps into fertilizer. Worms quicken the composting process. The best composting worms are Red Wigglers. Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm is #1 when it comes to composting worms and supplies. People like vermicomposting because it provides them with all-natural fertilizer that is more nourishing than regular compost. All composting is great for the environment, but fruit flies will …

Read More

Composting Worms and How They Move

Worms are ancient creatures that have been moving through the Earth’s soil for many, many years. But, how exactly do they move forward? Worms do not have legs, so they must use other methods to travel. What Makes A Worm? Earthworms are a part of the phylum Annelida, which is Latin for “little rings.” This is because they have small rings around their body that are referred to as “segments,” which are crucial to their movement. Without these segments, they would likely not be able to move. These segments contain eight small bristles called “setae.” To move, worms use these bristles to clutch the soil around them. The only segments that do not have setae are the first segment, the head, and the last segment, the tail. While the head usually moves forward, worms can move backward as well. Like most creatures, the mouth is contained in their head and it allows them to eat food and soil. They produce humus (poop) out of their tail. This worm humus is what vermicomposters collect to use as an all-natural fertilizer. Worms do not have any bones, which allows them to squeeze into small spaces and grants them unrestrained movements. They create tunnels as they move through the soil by eating whatever matter comes before them. As they move through these tunnels, their bodies emit mucus that helps to steady the tunnels. The tunnels that these worms create are vital for the health of the soil because they bring air, water, and nutrients. How Do Worms …

Read More

The Ideal Bedding for Your Composting Worms

To have the best vermicomposting experience, your worms need the best bedding. Our Red Worms are the best for composting. They will savor your leftovers and produce the best organic fertilizer. The good news is that there are multiple different beddings to choose from for your worms. Uncle Jim has pre-made bedding that you can buy. You can also make your own worm bedding from objects already in your house! Any bedding should mimic a worm’s natural environment. To do this, the bedding should be: Soft and gentle (nothing that might cut their delicate skin!) Porous enough to allow airflow (worms breathe through their skin) Neutral pH balance of 7 Moist (but not too moist, like a wrung-out sponge) Non-toxic Edible materials Our recommended beddings for your vermicomposting bin are: Fall Leaves are good to use as bedding as long as they have been composted beforehand. Fall leaves are currently very abundant. Rake them into a pile and leave it outside through the winter. They will be ready to use as bedding by the time spring rolls around. Brown Corrugated Cardboard can be found in almost any home. Most stores will also give it to you for free if you ask. Your worms will love this type of bedding in the bin. Just shred it or tear it into pieces. Shredded Paper, so long as it is unbleached or from black-ink only newspapers, can make for some good bedding when mixed with other materials. Avoid any bleached office/printer paper or newspapers with colored ink, junk mail, or envelopes containing plastic because these will …

Read More

Vermicomposting for Beginners

“Vermi” means something that deals with worms, so when you are vermicomposting, you are composting with worms. All you need to do to vermicompost is feed your worms food scraps—it’s that easy! The worms will eat this food and turn it into your own organic fertilizer that you can use in your garden, lawn, and even houseplants. This fertilizer has many names, including worm castings, worm feces, humus, or worm manure. You will need several basic materials before you start composting. Your Worms First things first, you’re going to need worms! The Red Wiggler is our “King” of composting. Not only are they great at composting, but they are also known for doubling their original population in as little as three months. European Night Crawlers (Super Reds) are another option, and are great for fishing bait, as well! Super reds can also be released into your garden and lawn to aerate. Uncle Jim’s is your go-to worm supplier and ships all year throughout the continental United States. Composting Bins Your worms are going to need a place to call home. Composting trays are one of the best options, as they are very easy to maintain and harvest. They won’t get too heavy, so they are also easy to lift if they need to be moved. Click here to browse Uncle Jim’s composting tray selection. You can also use any basic plastic tote. This instructional video will show you how. Bedding You will need bedding for your worms to live in. …

Read More

Holiday Gift Ideas from Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm

Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm would like to wish everyone Happy Holidays! Are you stuck on which gifts to buy your friends and loved ones? Well, we are here to help! Uncle Jim’s offers awesome products ranging from apparel to supplies. Apparel Our apparel is perfect for when you want to work in the garden or with your worms. Do you or your loved ones need a new hat? We have a new Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm Ball Cap that will keep the sun out of your eyes while you’re doing any outdoor work. We also have a tasteful half-apron that will help keep your clothes clean, and it comes with a garden shovel. T-shirts are perfect for gardening and everyday wear. We offer Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm t-shirts in many different colors and sizes– including children’s. The shirt is 100% pre-shrunk cotton, so you do not have to worry about it shrinking in the wash. It is a breathable and lightweight fabric, which makes it perfect for doing any outdoor or vermicomposting work! Composters Are you or your family trying to get into composting? Vermicomposting is ideal because you can turn kitchen scraps into all-natural fertilizer. This organic fertilizer will nourish your garden or houseplants. Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm is number one when it comes to composting worms and supplies, so trust us with all your composting needs. Vermicomposting can be done indoors or outdoors, but if you live in a colder region, you should start with an indoor composting bin. …

Read More

Vermicomposting Red Worm Life Cycle

All living organisms go through the same life cycle: birth, development, reproduction, and death. What is the life cycle of the King of Composting, the Red Worm? These worms are hermaphrodites. That means they each have both male and female reproductive organs. Let’s find out how they make new, baby worms! Red Worm Reproduction Red worms’ reproductive organs are in the clitellum, a gland that sticks out from the rest of their body. It looks like the worm is wearing a ring around its body. When the worm becomes fertile, the clitellum becomes more visible and turns orange. The color change is a signal that the worm is ready for reproduction. Worms, even though they are hermaphrodites, do not reproduce alone. At least one additional Red Worm is necessary so they can exchange genetic material.

Read More

Winter is Coming! Get Your Outdoor Vermicomposting Bin Ready for Chilly Temperatures

The leaves are changing colors, which means it’s the time of year to get your vermicomposting bin ready for the colder season. Even though it’s cold outside, you can still compost your kitchen scraps using worms. The worms will produce free, all-natural fertilizer. If you are from a warmer climate that doesn’t dip below 57°F, your composting worms will probably not die, but they will slow down due to lower temperatures. However, if you live in a colder area, then you may want to take precautions so your worms will not die.

Read More